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One Good Turn

(Jackson Brodie #2)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  30,246 ratings  ·  2,819 reviews
It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident - a near-homicidal attack which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander - until he becomes a murder suspect.

As the body count mounts, each member of the teeming Dickensian
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 10th 2007 by Back Bay Books (first published 2006)
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Jack The plot of each of the books stands alone, so the order isn't important from that standpoint. However, the first book introduces Brodie and each…moreThe plot of each of the books stands alone, so the order isn't important from that standpoint. However, the first book introduces Brodie and each subsequently advances his personal history, so reading them in order would add to your enjoyment.(less)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  30,246 ratings  ·  2,819 reviews

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Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-completed
In this second of the Jackson Brodie series, Kate Atkinsons writing once again brings a fascinating cast of characters to our attention in a plot that has hidden links and connections on all fronts.

I like how we discover so much about the characters in this novel. If there is more, beyond the usual 3-D for characters, then it is definitely found in this novel. In just a few sentences we receive a great deal of information about the characters, but Ms Atkinson doesnt stop there. As I became
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kate Atkinson continues her Jackson Brodie crime fiction series in her own original style of indepth characterisation, case studies if you will, and with plentiful doses of wit and humour. There is a road rage occurrence outside a Fringe Theatre at the Edinburgh Festival, a theatre in which Brodie's actress girlfriend, Julia, is performing. Amongst numerous others, Brodie, in a queue observes the incident. What we get from the author is a major focus on the circumstances and interior lives of a ...more
Somehow it seemed unlikely it was a coincidence. What had Jackson said? A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen.

Kate Atkinson is one of my favourite writers, and the quote above describes the nature of her Jackson Brodie mysteries. There are seemingly random incidents and events involving separate characters around whom Atkinson builds back stories. Not for every character, but for the ones were going to become interested in, even if we dont know why.

Jackson is in Edinburgh with
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
it took me long enough to finish this one, which says a lot. i'm the person who will willingly give up sleep, food, social interaction and general human-like activities to read a good book.

i really liked kate atkinson's case histories. it's been awhile since i read it, but it left enough of an impression that i was willing to dive into this one with little knowledge of what it was about, or what people thought of it. all in all, it had a very slow start for me. in fact, that was the biggest
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019
Oh my. I knew I enjoyed this series the first time I read it but I did not really remember why. On this reread I recall that the first reason is Jackson Brodie himself. He is an absolute teddy bear and silly Julia does not recognise a really good man when she sees one.

Secondly of course is the writer's skill. She draws detailed, apparently unrelated, characters and throws them into a succession of different scenes. As the book progresses the reader gets glimpses of coincidences and possible
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
I love Kate Atkinson and I particularly love her Jackson Brodie series.

A series of seemingly unrelated incidents draw the retired Jackson into a tangled web, earning him his first criminal conviction, and galvanising him into action.

An excellent read.

This is the second novel in the series of which ex-soldier, ex-police officer and newly wealthy ex-private detective Jackson Brodie is the chief protagonist. Just as in the first book in the series, Case Histories, the story is told from the point of view of a number of different characters, whose lives intersect with and whose actions directly and indirectly affect each other.

A recurrent image in the novel is that of Matryoshka dolls the Russian dolls which fit inside each other. The image is
I am tempted to write this review as "nah," and leave it at that, but I want to do better by it.

I am rating this really low! Surprisingly low. I don't hate this author. This isn't terrible writing. (Possibly, it is rather better writing than the Tana French book I just finished; at least nobody is described as having "hidden levels" in their "X-box game he calls a brain." Left that bit out of my last review, didn't I. Ah.)

"Multiple points of view" does not communicate enough about what this book
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
ONE GOOD TURN by Kate Atkinson begins with a road rage incident involving one crazy guy beating a man with a baseball bat and another man, a wimpy writer of popular crime novels, knocking the crazy guy down with his laptop computer. From there we meet all sorts of seemingly unrelated characters who all become connected.

It's actually a pretty good and simple story. But here's what I guess happened.

My guess is that Atkinson had a pretty good short story. Someone (publisher, editor, agent, whoever)
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I remember a scolding from one of my high school English teachers to the effect that my classmates and I should only read books that made us better people and stop wasting our time with the other stuff. I'm not sure Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels would rise to her standard. They're probably frustrating for mystery readers who value focused, logical plots and a clear sense of right and wrong in a novel, too. But I love these books. Atkinson's writing, her characters, and her observations of the ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits
I love Kate Atkinson's mischievous, self-deprecating, knowing wit - who else but a supremely confident writer, on her fifth novel, the second to feature Jackson Brodie, could introduce a character as 'a walking cliché', or have a dissatisfied wimpy writer of jolly crime fiction as a main protagonist, or be unafraid to point up how weird it is that all the characters keep meeting each other, how connected they are, like Russian dolls, layer within layer, doll within doll. And how does she turn a ...more
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
[3.6] On my vacation, I decided to pick up one of the Jackson Brodie novels I haven't yet read. This one is quite good - a slow starter - but as usual Kate Atkinson pulled together all the disparate strings. Very engaging but didn't reach the heights of #3 - "When Will There Be Good News."
Alexandra Robbins
Abandoned after 100 pages. The cover blurb reads, "The most fun I've had with a novel this year" - Ian Rankin. What I want to know is, what on earth was he *doing* with it?!
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
One Good Turn is Atkinson's second novel to feature a character named Jackson Brodie, though I didn't realize it was part of a series until I had finished the book. That didn't seem to impact the story. The book is sort of a mystery, but it doesn't completely belong to the genre. There is a detective, and a crime, and a series of plot twists and turns, but I don't think the author was trying to write a piece of genre fiction. Had she tried to do just that, she may have been more successful; as ...more
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Probably more of a 3 and 1/2 stars rating)

Though I'm technically giving the two Brodie novels I've read the same amount of stars, I liked the first one (Case Histories) more, mostly (I think) for what seemed more like 'realism' than what's found in this sequel.

Atkinson's sly, ironic humor is still in full force, maybe even more so with her characters' commentaries on their own reality versus that of 'real' fiction. I was bothered by two events being concealed (perhaps this is one reason I don't
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
This could have been really good but it was unnecessarily long, too much padding, and I couldn't finish it - I kept getting bored and forgetting who was who!
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
One Good Turn was a decent read. Good for lazy summer days, it's one step up from your typical beach book, but far from being great literature. I've also read Atkinson's Case Histories (also decent), but I guess it didn't make all that much of an impact, as I was almost halfway through the book before I realized that One Good Turn has the same characters as Case Histories. Then I also realized that One Good Turn follows pretty much the same formula as Case Histories, which is: take a mystery, ...more
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great knack for putting the reader into the minds of a small set of characters on parallel tracks and then step by step bringing them into surprising intersections with the unfolding of the mystery. Getting there is more than half the fun. Sporadic mayhem in this Edinburgh setting stirs the four main characters to transform their lives, each already resilient from tragedies in their past. They include: Martin, a mild reclusive writer of cosy mystery novels, who bravely intercedes in road rage ...more
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed by this book. This is the follow up to Case Histories, which was a great and engaging book with interesting characters. This one is written in the same style, with lots of interlocking stories, but in this one I didn't care about any of the characters, with maybe the exception of Jackson, but even he irritated me for the bulk of the book. And Julia, who I thought was annoying but fun in Case Histories, was just completely unlikeable in this book.
Bill Khaemba
They said love made you strong, but in Louise's opinion, it made you weak. It corkscrewed into your heart and you couldn't get it out again, not without ripping your heart to pieces.

After reading *Case Histories* and loving it, I got countless of recommendations that I continue on with the rest of the series (Thank you Paul) I loved it.

Bored of reading the same plot-driven crime novels look no further This is a cool unique crime series book that has found a balance for character study and
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
Well this is another confusing one...

Ms. Atkinson seems to have a style that I've not encountered before. Take one incident, populate it with a half-dozen or so characters of various ages, temperaments, personalities, backgrounds, etc., then let them drop sort of loose. Jump from one character to the other as they go about their day and slowly - as if you're pulling the drawstring of a large bag - scoop them all up into one big pot (or purse), shake freely and then open the bag and let
Sep 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
I stopped reading this book halfway through, which is very unusual for me. I had been very entertained by it initially -- loved Atkinson's astringent wit, her hilariously apt metaphors, her willingness to say the things we usually just think but daren't say aloud. And the story was suspenseful, a page turner. Yet there came a point where I didn't want to read any more of it. The same sharp-eyed malice that had entertained me initially eventually got on my nerves. I remember having the same ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Stephen King recommended this author in a book column that he writes for Entertainment Weekly. (It was lying around at work and I needed something to read!)I took his recommendation seriously because in his column he went on to recommend "...and all the books of Robert Goddard."

I love to come across new authors. Years ago I just happened upon Goddard and avidly read several of his tomes before I ran out of the energy needed to handle the underlying sinisterness of his stories.

Now I get to go
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
This is the second Jackson Brodie book from Kate Atkinson, the first one being Case Histories. The story was good, in fact very good. The way she is able to weave a various number of seemingly unrelated characters into a plausible mystery/plot is exemplary. And I LOVED the ending. It was a gotcha/aha moment. My only complaint about this book is it's editing. There are people or events thrown in that needn't have been in the book at all. The first 100 pages are a bit of a challenge and one may ...more
Stephanie Lindorff
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved how the different characters and storylines twined around each other. And the last paragraph was pure delight.
Jul 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
In this follow-up to Case Histories, we find retired detective Jackson Brodie in Edinburgh, where his girlfriend Julia is appearing in a not-very-good play. Brodie stumbles into a set of interconnected events -- a road rage incident interrupted by a meek writer of popular cozy mysteries; the murder of an over-the-hill comedian who had imposed himself at the writer's house; the disappearance of the body of a young woman wearing crucifix earrings and bearing the card of a shady cleaning service; ...more
Lyn Elliott
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Really 3.5.
Atkinson has produced an unusual cast of characters in Edinborough during the Festival and Fringe, and she's missed no opportunity for dry humour, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
But I read it in bursts. The characters and actions appear in scenes, there is so much going on, so many characters, with shaky continuity and I lost track of what was happening several times. If you were watching it on stage you might have a better chance of holding on to the thread, watching the set change
I do like Kate Atkinson's writing. In this, the second in the Jackson Brodie series, she brings together several threads and ties them up in a bow. At times it's a bit convoluted, and I didn't find this one as charming as Case Histories, but it was still a good read. I highlighted lots of bits; here are some of my favourites:

This French life had been his dream, now it was his reality. He had been surprised by the difference between the two.

It was strange how something you werent expecting could,
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Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories,

Other books in the series

Jackson Brodie (5 books)
  • Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)
  • When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie, #3)
  • Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4)
  • Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5)

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